Climate change – what do the scientific reports of COP28 say?

raporty COP28

Climate change is a fact of life, and its intensifying effects are being felt acutely in more and more regions around the world. More than 90 institutions and research centers from around the world have joined forces to produce reports describing the state of the climate in 2023. They were presented to decision-makers at the recent COP28 climate summit in Dubai. Did the results of the analyses influence the decisions made?

COP28 reports – an update on the state of the climate

The discussion at this year’s climate summit focused on issues related to the loss and damage fund, the level of implementation of climate commitments by parties to the Paris Agreement, and the urgent need to move away from fossil fuels.

Given that not all countries were leaning toward strong restrictions on their consumption, it was critical to build on the findings of the research work. For COP28, various research centers, have prepared dedicated reports describing current climate data.

Among the reports compiled by scientists and presented at COP28 were:

  • Global Carbon Project report;
  • World Meteorological Organization report on. greenhouse gases;
  • World Meteorological Organization’s preliminary report on the state of the climate in 2023;
  • UNEP emissions gap report.

Scientists conclude: fiasco of global climate policy

COP28 reports indicate that the destructive trend of increasingCO2 emissions continues – in 2023. 36.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted worldwide, up 1.1 percent. more than in the previous year. Greenhouse gas concentrations peaked in 2022. and rising steadily, which will make 2023 the warmest year on record. Does this mean that global climate policy to date has been ineffective? On a global scale – yes. Although emissions have been reduced in Europe and the United States, overall not enough has been done to stop climate change.

Scientists primarily cite too slow implementation of established solutions as reasons for failure. This shows vividly how ineffectively the adopted strategy has been implemented. The reports stress that the key to achieving the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement is to bring net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. According to them, this is the only way to limit the temperature rise and avoid a global catastrophe.

COP28 climate conference – active acceleration of climate action needed

Scientists agree that the COP28 reports should become the basis for developing ambitious climate strategies and implementing them immediately. Climate change is a serious threat, so in the absence of a global downward trend inCO2 emissions, scientists point to the need to abandon fossil fuels altogether. This vision presents the world with new challenges, the most difficult and important of which is the energy transition.

However, not everyone is in favor of this perspective. Especially skeptical are those countries that base their economies on the extraction and trade of fossil fuels. In the context of this year’s summit, additional controversy has been stirred by the choice of the United Arab Emirates, a country that is a major oil exporter, as the venue for the meeting. It is difficult to say conclusively whether the decision to locate was accidental and unfortunate, or a kind of dramatic wake-up call.

A number of important decisions were made at COP28, including. funding for health-promoting measures in response to extreme weather, solutions to support the energy transition, or initiatives to attract investment aimed at solving climate problems in poorer regions of the Global South. The key, however, will be whether and how quickly these solutions are implemented. Although Europe is committed to climate and environmental action, as reflected, for example, in a decrease in carbon emissions, the smallest continent’s impact on the global situation is realistically small. Developing a consensus, with extremely different positions, was difficult, although scientists clearly delineated the direction of global climate policy and emphasized the availability of ready-made solutions that could save the planet from catastrophe.

Have policymakers listened to the voice of researchers?

The main declarations in the agreement concluding the negotiations of this year’s climate summit were the gradual transition away from coal, oil and gas, and the need to accelerate efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, there were provisions for, among other things. On tripling the share of renewable energy by 2030. and the development ofCO2 capture technologiesto gradually decarbonize carbon-intensive industries.

The agreement is interpreted by some as a huge success – for the first time in history, summit participants unanimously acknowledged the need to move away from fossil fuels. Others show much more skepticism, bluntly calling the compromise worked out a collection of loose declarations that contribute little. The main reason for dissatisfaction is the lack of a provision for a complete shift away from fossil fuels. Instead, the document lists possible ways to reduceCO2 emissions. Such action is interpreted as an open door for further trading in coal, gas and oil.

So have the scientific reports of COP28 had the intended effect? Seemingly yes – the agreement emphasizes moving away from fossil fuels “in accordance with the science,” with the goal of achieving net zero emissions around 2050. But scientists make it clear: in order for climate change to be halted, it is necessary to completely stop their use as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the parties to the agreement will continue to have considerable latitude in this regard, and the recommended development ofCO2 storage technologies, which by the way have been heavily criticized by scientists, may paradoxically provide an incentive to increase fossil fuel extraction. The agreement reached at COP28 does not impose specific obligations on countries. Thus, whether net zero emissions can actually be achieved by 2050. and climate change will be halted will depend on the decisions and actions of individual governments.

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